March 28, 2012 at 10:20am
More algae, more problems
By Jeremy Moule
Our mild winter could mean a spring and summer where algae blooms are a bigger problem than usual in Lake Ontario and other local waterways.
Last night, Color Brighton Green held a presentation on local water quality issues. Charles Knauf, the department's chief water quality analyst, told the crowd that algae tends to be worse in years where there are no big winter storms to disrupt algae growth.
"I got called out on two algae blooms already, and it's not even April," Knauf said. Both involved inland water bodies.
Traditionally, excessive algae are attributed to nutrient runoff from lawns and fields. However, the mild winter - Lake Ontario, and the Great Lakes in general, barely froze during it - has given algae growth a head start.
In general, algae growth can cause water quality problems, and summertime algae are a particular problem for Monroe County's public beaches. Algae clumps can be breeding grounds for bacteria, and high pathogen counts can lead to beach closings. Algae can also cloud up the water; clarity is also a major factor in whether a beach stays open.